India Gears Up For Second Phase of Covid-19 Vaccination

In a bid to speed up the process of vaccination against the novel coronavirus, the Centre has directed all the states and union territories to start inoculation of frontline workers along with health professionals from the first week of February.

The government estimates that around 3 crore health and frontline workers will be administered the Covid-19 vaccine in the first round of the drive that is likely to be completed by the month of April. As per government data, more than 33.7 lakh health workers have already received the first dose of the vaccine in the last two weeks since the launch of the drive on January 16.

India has also been lauded for sending consignments of domestically-produced coronavirus vaccines under a grant assistance to Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius, and Seychelles in the last few days. It is also undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco.

The Maharashtra government will begin vaccination of frontline workers from February 1. The state government has instructed civic bodies in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to take special care to restrict potential spurt in Covid-19 cases after Mumbai locals resume services from Monday. Covid Care Centers have been instructed to be operational for the coming few months.

Over 91% of scheduled beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine were inoculated in one day for the first time in Delhi last Monday. At Delhi’s 81 vaccination centres, 7,408 health care workers of the targeted 8,100 received a jab of either the Covaxin or Covishield vaccines. According to administration data, 41 hospitals, including private and government facilities, either vaccinated 100% of their targeted beneficiaries or exceeded that number on Monday.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday announced that the state is targeting the completion of vaccination of all the health workers by February 5 and also wishes to launch the drive for vaccination of frontline workers on the same day. The state also plans to wind up vaccination including the first and second doses of the health and frontline workers by March 25.

In a special request, the state of Tamil Nadu has asked the Centre for the elderly to be allowed vaccination along with frontline workers and healthcare providers. Experts are of the view that instead of vaccinating the elderly in the third phase, they can be inoculated simultaneously now as they are more prone to developing serial symptoms. Confirming that the vaccination of the frontline workers will commence on February 1, the authorities also said that they have already covered one lakh person and have the bandwidth to vaccinate more than 6 lakh person with the rate of 16,000 persons per day.

The Bihar state government has enrolled 1.94 lakh frontline workers for vaccination against coronavirus disease as it stepped up efforts to complete the exercise of inoculating 4.64 lakh healthcare workers by asking medical colleges to vaccinate on all days, except holidays. To speed up vaccination, 12 new government session sites have been identified for vaccination in Patna. Besides, 22 private healthcare facilities have also been shortlisted where smaller private health facilities will be tagged for vaccination of its healthcare workers.

As per reports, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has already begun data entry of the frontline workers, who will be vaccinated in the second phase. In addition, the state government has urged the Centre to treat teachers and other education department staff as frontline workers who were involved in door-to-door collection of data and other services, for the purpose of Covid-19 vaccination.

Following a communication from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on January 29 to commence the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination, Gujarat will begin the inoculation drive for its frontline workers, including policemen, from Sunday, targeting to cover 75,000 beneficiaries in a single day. State immunization officer Nayan Jani Saturday said “no healthcare worker will be vaccinated on Sunday”, instead frontline workers, including officials from the revenue department, home department, and urban development department, will get the first jab.

The state Health Department is all geared up to vaccinate frontline workers of other departments from February 1. In this second phase of vaccination, workers from the police, local bodies, disaster management, rural development, and panchayats and revenue departments will be given Covid shots. So far, only 30 percent of the targeted frontline workers of the Health Department have been vaccinated. However, the authorities also made it clear that health workers still might get a chance to get vaccinated until February 12.

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